Thursday, September 22, 2011

Haircuts and Grace

My life has been crazy recently.  Starting school two weeks ago added to the drain on my finances and my free time; but that’s not entirely the truth of the matter.  I don’t know when exactly; but somewhere in the recent past I started on a journey of self-discovery, sailing past what I now understand as my own point of no return (with Kansas playing in the background).  Most of the time on this journey I have felt like I was stumbling through the darkness chasing after some elusive and far-off light. However, there have been times when the light of truth was focused intensely and specifically on an area of my life or the way I view the world that surrounds me. 
One of those moments happened last night…
While at work on Sunday a customer handed me a coupon for a free haircut at SportsClips.  I had no intention of getting a haircut before receiving the coupon but readily put in my wallet with the intention of using it sometime this week.
Every Wednesday I go to Man Club, a men’s group my pastor hosts at his house where we read through the Gospels in parallel to each other and try to come to an understanding of the passages as a group.  Afterwards, we always break up into smaller groups to pray, smoke cigars, and kill zombies on Call of Duty together.
This week I was put in a group with a good friend of mine, a man who finalized his divorce earlier that day, lost his job a couple months before that, AND in the middle of it all had his car break down. Fortunately, he is no worse for the wear, actually in spite of it all, I’ve seen him come alive.  After asking for prayer over certain areas of his life he added that he needed a haircut sometime soon, but didn’t really have the money for it.  Without much thought I reached into my wallet and handed him the coupon I had received on Sunday. 
As I drove home I was taken aback by how willing I was to him the coupon.  This nugget of scripture has been ringing in my ears ever since:
Since you freely received, freely give.
-Mat 10:8b
I don’t give much freely, especially trust, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.  The reason is simple: in my mind those things need to be earned. 
To be honest I don’t think I would have been so quick to pay money (that I had earned with my time and effort) for my friend to get a haircut.  I don’t freely give grace, mercy, etc either because I like to think I’ve earned them through my morality and my intellect.
For someone, like myself, who claims to be an amateur biblical scholar this belief, holding this view is ridiculous.  Grace cannot be earned (see Eph 2:10).  It is a gift that has a value beyond comprehension and part of enjoying it involves NOT trying to buy it.
I really don’t know how to change except by praying that God would grant me the wisdom of how to live the rest of my days enjoying the gifts He’s freely given to me and find ways to daily give those gifts freely to others.